This is a sort of homecoming, as it was six years ago when Chef Walbolt was taking these same first steps to what would launch his culinary career and his passion.
Joshua began as a high school student at Elk River High School and was part of the school’s 2011 & 2012 ProStart programs that won the state level ProStart Invitational and advanced to the national competition. In his first year, he won 2nd place with his knife skills. Walbolt shares, "I would take any chance to practice my knife skills, go over my recipes and costing. My ProStart teammates would be frustrated as I often
changed my mind on how to make a dish better." That drive and passion paid off. In 2018, Josh was named the Rising Star Chef by the Charlies, a Twin Cities restaurant award. “I got to the stage, looked out and thought, ‘I did it, we did it,’ It was a good feeling,” said Walbot. He grew up in the Twin Cities, but went to culinary school in New York, worked under Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, opened a restaurant for him in Orlando, and then came home training under local chefs Alex Roberts and Gavin Kaysen. All by the age of 25.
“After a while of cooking in the industry: French food is great, Japanese food is great, but who am I? Who am I as a chef? What am I going to cook to make as my statement to express myself really?” he asked. His most recent adventure at Lat 14 is a combination his personal history and professional background.
Chef Walbolt was excited to be part of the ProStart teams again – this time as a mentor. He knows the importance of having committed and skilled chefs in the classroom. His advice to students is to "ask questions, be patient and make goals." He shares, "I knew what I liked and I pursued it. I love food and everything that is associated with it." He loves that every work day is different and you continue to learn. "There are great friends in this industry and they push you to become better."
What is next for Walbolt? In September, Josh left the Twin Cities to gain even more experience with esteemed New York chefs and establishments. We believe he will return soon to enhance the Twin Cities Food Revolution.